The lack of a detailed job description for some positions, results to a disorderly and unproductive work or conflict situations within employees. This is one of the problems faced by NewCore Industries International. Top management needs to pay attention to this issue in order to maintain the overall flow of the system on the company.
The group decided to focus on role confusion as the main problem that should be examined. The group believes that this problem should be addressed immediately to avoid the worsening of the situations that the employees and the management face everyday. Role Confusion can lead to different outcomes that may hinder the job holders from being productive and doing what is expected from their respective department. Role confusion can lead to possible conflicts and misunderstandings between employees and their departments. Without resolving this issue in Newcore, it will be difficult to measure and evaluate the success of any employee in meeting his key performance objectives, also known as key performance indicators. Without key performance indicators, it will be hard for Newcore to assess the employee’s overall effectiveness on his job. Since Newcore is an interior fit-out company, the roles of Project Managers and Construction Managers may overlap and may need to be clarified for better goal-alignment in each project. At the same time, Account Managers and Project Managers also have confusing roles because of the close coordination required for both jobs.
What is Role Ambiguity? In human resource management, Role ambiguity is a lack of clarity about expected behavior from a job or position. A lack of understanding about job responsibilities and knowing what is expected in terms of one’s job performance is identified as role ambiguity or a lack of role clarity. Role ambiguity occurs when people are unclear or uncertain about their expectations within a certain role, typically their role in the job or workplace. Role ambiguity arises when the definition of the person's job is vague or ill defined (Edmonson, n.d.).
Does your team have unclear roles and responsibilities? So much has been written about organizational effectiveness, but there is one thing that remains constant: role clarity is the foundation to productivity and efficiency. When roles are being played at without rationale or by explicit communication, managers can become confused and frustrated. HR is then blamed by managers for ineffective support. Unclear roles can be stressful. Role confusion appears to be a significant problem for many. Our confusion creates poor or less than stellar productivity. The end result of this is that our productivity falls and we do not achieve our set of agreed goals, wasting a lot of personal resources such as time, energy, emotions and even money (Hoaglas-Smith, 2011).
In an article published in 2012 by the Harvard Business Review, author Tammy Erikson argues that “without clear role descriptions, rather than focusing on their productive tasks, employees are more likely to drain their energies from negotiating their roles within their teams.” The reason behind this conclusion was the finding that team behaviours improved when employees felt that their roles had clear boundaries, and that allowed them to do a significant portion of their work independently (Yacopetti, 2016).
What can be the solution to this? According to Jackson Advisory (n.d.), the practical answer to this question rests in part of the concept of accountability. Accountability lies at the heart of job definition and the hard wiring of the organization structure. It provides a systematic approach to understanding the enduring outcomes of each role. It reduces confusion by eliminating unintentional job overlap. It’s not work that should be done in isolation but in larger groups. As such they provide a steady basis on which to build role clarity and support organizational effectiveness. “Effective organisations are built on role clarity. Therefore it still makes sense to invest in defining and mapping accountabilities (Adams, 2015).”
We can clarify roles with the use of RACI (Brearly, n.d.)
R = Responsible: A person actually doing the work.
A = Accountable: A person who will be ultimately held accountable for the work. This is often a manager.
C = Consulted: A person who should be consulted for their opinion. These people may be outside of your team.
I = Informed: A person who should be informed of the outcome or progress, but doesn’t need to provide their input.
How can we better assign clear roles? According to Samoilenko (2007), first of all, describe them the top two or three high priority tasks you want them to focus on. Then estimate the time you guess your employees to devote to these tasks. At the same time, help them understand the quality of the work you are expecting. Then make sure to explain the result you are trying to achieve. And finally, get out of their way—give your employees the freedom to work in the best manner possible.
What are the benefits of role clarity? According to Carl Nielson (2014), the benefits of gaining role clarity are numerous; it mainly helps you achieve in your professional and personal objectives easier, and enjoying a better life. It captures what success in the job will look like and how it will impact the company’s mission. According to Blazek (2016), having roles with clearly documented responsibilities and duties impacts all levels of the organization, from the top-most executives down to entry-level staff. The way in which role clarity often boost efficiency and productivity in which it creates an environment in where the strategic objectives of the organization can effectively flow down through the ranks of the company and be reflected in a clear memorialization of who is responsible for what. More employee satisfaction, increase quality performance. Ultimately, everyone will know what to do and what is expected of them, everything gets done and, less energy is wasted. Therefore, according to Davis (n.d.) happiness starts with role clarity.
According to Dalal (2018), when you provide role clarity to the employees during employee engagement, it will reduce their confusion by eliminating unintentional job overlap. It will define how the role fits within the larger picture and how it intersects with other roles, functions and teams for them. It also improves collaboration by providing a non-threatening space for people to work independently and creatively. During hiring and attracting talent, providing crystal clear roles prevents a lot of losses and pains down the road. It gives faith to the potential employee that the business is structured and organized with a plan. During performance, providing role clarity makes it easier to measure and manage employee’s performance. Furthermore, helpful in counselling employees through conflicts and other issues. During innovation, it promotes the capture of ideas on how to improve current processes so that they are more effective in the future. During career development, it will provides them a clearer base for managing career pathing and succession planning. It will supports the notion that the role is part of a long-term career, rather than just a placeholder for a job. In addition, easier to establish the networks available to the employee for advice and mentoring. Finally, during handovers, induction & learning and development, the organization’s culture, values and purpose will have clear guidelines and will gives a valuable reference for handovers assisting in introducing the new role recipient to the complete picture of all their tasks. Lastly, providing role clarity will easily create objectives to assess the performance to new hires only within a short period
In the area of team roles, role clarity/role ambiguity is the factor that is linked to team performance.Why is it important in addressing this role unclarity? This is because that the organization’s pace may be affected even the slightest overlap can impact other people. Once you’ve give clear role descriptions, good outcomes will start coming and things will go smoothly. Just like how you want your teachers to give you clear instructions for projects or assignment, clearly defining roles and responsibilities, can have a positive impact on the company as a whole, particularly as it relates how the whole team projects. (Blazek, 2018).
There are many negative effect of having role confusion in the workplace such as lack of employee productivity, wrong salary pay grade, poor employee commitment etc. (as cited in Pepe, 2016). It is further elaborated by Pepe (2016) that the whole organization is negatively affected when an employee experiences role confusion due to the absence of efficiency and effectivity. Given these negative impacts, the significance of these studies is to address the issue of role confusion in Newcore Industries International and as an optimistic end result, increase the company productivity as a whole. A study that can support this was made by Donelly, J. and Ivancevisch, J. (1974) which confirmed that a greater role clarity is related to more job interest, more opportunity for job innovation, more self-actualization, autonomy and esteem satisfaction, less job tension and less propensity to leave the organization.
The research that will be conducted will focus on further improving the system for hiring and clarifications of the job descriptions of each employee. The scope of this study will be done in the company, Newcore Industries International. An interview will be conducted for the HR Manager of the company in order to understand how the system of the company works in terms of hiring, proper placement of employees and analyzing where they best fit in with the company. A initial manual survey will also be given to 50 employees prior to the interview done with the HR Managers. A focus discussion group between the selected department heads and employees would be also conducted to further verify the phenomena. The methods that the group will use in order to obtain the necessary information will gauge if there is role confusion happening within employees in the company, as well as the effect of role confusion to the amount of workload an employee has. Furthermore, the points and findings that the group will find at the end of the research should be backed up with the prior knowledge of the group from the previous classes that are concerned with how the organizations such as companies and corporations should function. The recommendations and conclusions that the group could have at the end of the research could somehow help in solving the problems that the company faces.